Thursday, December 6, 2012

More Elf Business

Pin It Oh, that silly elf, Bernard!

A few days ago, he appeared riding a reindeer!

Late that night, I caught him doing this:

Then, yesterday, he showed up with a note.
(He had also been coloring again. He traced the cookie cutters he dug out of our cookie cutter bin.)

The note (on a snowflake, written in red and green sparkle ink, of course) reads:

Dear Crazypants,
I left cookie dough in your refrigerator! You and Mommy can bake and decorate some cookies today! Remember to be a good listener!

This note is for a 22-month-old, so simple is good.

(Also good, she forgot about the "decorate" part. Not only did it not happen that day, but Bernard was inspired later on.)

Here's a tip from Bernard to your elf:

Refrigerate cookie dough in small batches. Not only does that help keep it from getting too soft when you are working at toddler speed, but you may find that by the end of batch 2 that the next batch or so would be best if unassisted.

Bernard left us both plain dough and dough dyed green. We assumed that was for the trees.

While we worked, Bernard drank some (my) iced coffee and read A Feast for Crows.

The idea that Bernard would read Mommy's book was The Funniest Thing to V., so he read for a while.

That is, until he fell over into a mess of flour.

V. would not give up that he was dirty and needed a bath, but elves are somewhat modest, and Bernard was not about to just jump down and strip right there to hop into a bath.

While we were in the other room, this happened.

Personally, I was relieved that he didn't go for the traditional elf bath of marshmallows, because marshmallows are synonymous with crack in this household. Bernard would have found himself bubbleless and I would have been peeling a toddler off the vaulted ceiling. He's a smart elf, I tell you.

Cookie decorating didn't happen yesterday, so Bernard brought us a little inspiration this morning:

Cookie decorating supplies! How thoughtful, Bernard!

(Due to some last-minute holiday shopping that turned into a "run around the mall" fiasco and a nap boycott that ended 2 hours later than nap started, they did not get decorated today, either.)

We'll get to them. Eventually. Thanks to Bernard, we have all that we need save some time!

Turkey Time!

Pin It I'm going to take you back in time a few weeks.

I have the joy of being part of an amazing playgroup. We get together at least once a week to have fun, and the kids seem to enjoy it, too!

The Monday before Thanksgiving, we started up a new thing - Toddler Book Club. Adults have book club, so why not toddlers?

The structure is simple. Every other week (because holiday season is upon us!) a mom and toddler hosts. They choose a story to share, and base a snack and project around that story.

Week 1: Our house.
Theme: Thanksgiving
Book: The Night Before Thanksgiving
Craft: Turkey Hand Paintings
Snack: Turkey rice krispy treats

I didn't get any pictures of the painting in action (something about 10 kids under 4 with paint in your house put photos at the back of my mind...) but basically I had precut turkey bodies (or peanut shapes) and beaks. The kids used their hands to make the feathers, then glued the bodies and beaks on.

Sort of like this, which I borrowed from Redesign Revolution.

Then we moved on to creating snack. I had prepared Rice Krispie Treats using cocoa cereal, and shaping them into turkey bodies. If you are going to use pretzels for some of the treats, stick them in when the treats start to cool, but not before they completely solidify.

Then I used a marshmallow on a toothpick for the head. I cut a slit (use kitchen shears) into each marshmallow and shove a candy corn in. Some blue frosting eyes and we're good to go.

We also used toothpicks to make feathers out of some things that didn't fit on pretzels.
Our feathers consisted of:
Fruit Loops
gummy rings

You could add other fruits to make this healthier. (In fact, I got this idea from something on Pinterest that used an apple instead of rice krispy treats. Sure, it would have been healthier, but that wasn't my objective here. It's a Monday morning. Have fun, kids.)

Once the turkeys had moved from the decoration stage to the consumption stage, I took advantage of the seconds between happy silence and sugar rush to read the story.

All in all, a pretty good Monday morning!

I know what you're thinking. "I would have gone to more book club meetings if they were that awesome."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bernard the Elf

Pin It On December 1st, Bernard arrived.

Bernard is our family Elf. Sure, kids love their elf on the shelf, but it is every bit as much for the sanity and enjoyment of moms as it is for children. At least, that is how I justified getting one for my 22-month-old.

So Bernard arrived. I've been planning Bernard's arrival for months. (Thanks, Pinterest!) The issue is that many of the ideas on the internet are for older children. I would love to replace our stockings with toddler underwear or have Samwise Gamgee and Bernard renact Mordor, but she wouldn't get it.

Here are the first three days of Toddler-appropriate Elf on the Shelf. Stay tuned for more!

Day 1: He appeared. He was on the mantle, but the mantle was boring and it was snowing outside, so he migrated before anyone woke up. For a toddler, appearing in an unreachable place is a great start. It was more than enough for one day.

Day 2: I flew downstairs because Bernard so enjoyed his perch, he hadn't left it. Oops. Good thing there were scissors, paper, and crayons nearby.

Coloring is an all-time favorite right now, so V. immediately joined in. She even offered some other colors to Bernard, who silently declined.

The table appearance posited an issue. Bernard is in prime toddler snatching range. Everyone knows you can't touch an elf or they lose their magic. So I advised Bernard to move somewhere safe when nobody was looking.
He did just that.

Day 3: The warmest day we have had and will have in a while. Never mind that, Bernard wanted cocoa. He brought everyone a cup of cocoa (in special mugs!) topped with a marshmallow! He even put some coffee in Mommy's cocoa. How kind! V. had never had cocoa before. Not only did she chug it, she didn't spill a bit. Now I know that she is perfectly capable of drinking from a cup without a lid. The fact that water hits the floor is a choice, not lack of motor skill.

There's a rule - you wear the elf hat while drinking elf-made cocoa. Bernard's rule. Not mine. 

Bernard chose to hang out on a shelf without the mini wine glass. However, he chose a cabinate with wine glasses. I didn't even realize it until we were in Target and I asked my daughter what we needed. She told me Bernard needed wine. Maybe tomorrow he'll be doing something in a different room. Apparently my subconscious thinks that Santa needs a drink.

Another thing happened in Target. V. picked out a Hanukkah plate. It was $1.50, so I was happy to let her have a special Hanukkah plate. Then she picked up a second, different plate. I asked her to chose, and she handed me the second plate and said "chose plate for Bernard." Then she put back her first choice and said "Not B. (her name for herself)" Well. That was selfless. She wanted Bernard to have a plate!
Yes, we got both of them. Bernard the Elf is the proud owner of a Hanukkah plate, gifted by a loving little girl.

Stay tuned for more toddler elf ideas!